Handling Buyer Feedback

In an earlier article I stressed the importance of communication, but if you recall that was written from a customer service point of view. In this article I want to talk about communication as a way to protect yourself from any claims made against you that could endanger your reputation and perhaps your ability to earn a living as a freelancer.

Although you'd like to think that when two parties enter into a relationship amicably they'll both feel the same way when it's over but unfortunately, that's not how the real world works. If it did, there definitely wouldn't be so many lawyers! Here are some important points to remember when communicating with the buyers you encounter on freelance job sites.

Your clients are always right

This cannot be stressed enough and no matter how much you don't agree with something that's said, you've got to remember that the client is always right - for the moment anyway. If you deliver what you think the client wants but the client doesn't agree, always acknowledge the client's comments and then suggest you both go back and review the initial requirements. More often than not, this simple action is enough to get the project back on track.

Politeness counts

If you're someone who finds it difficult to express your feelings in writing and you're unsure how your communication sounds, ask someone to review what you've written before sending it to your client. Never be rude, demanding, stubborn, or obstinate and never use foul language or make demeaning or racial remarks.

Keep a written record

Always communicate within the freelance job site's established communication framework. Try not to talk on the phone or use instant messaging or communicate in any way that does not provide a written record of what was said. If you do IM, copy the text and paste it into the project file. And ask the buyer to confirm in writing that this is what the two of you discussed.

Arbitrate when necessary

Arbitration is a legally binding form of dispute resolution that involves a neutral third party. When enacted, the arbitrator is presented with the positions of both parties and all evidence that supports each party's position. The arbitrator reviews all information presented and when ready, makes a decision. The arbitrator's decision is final and the parties involved have to accept what the arbitrator decides and take whatever action the arbitrator deems necessary.

Not all freelance job sites offer an arbitration process. On those that do, arbitration should be used only as a last resort because, depending on the situation, it can help you or hurt you. Regardless of the outcome, there likely will be a record of the arbitration and it will be viewable. Make sure you thoroughly understand the way the site handles arbitration because you'll probably have to agree to the terms before you're allowed to join.

If you take your work seriously you won't have to worry too much about negative buyer feedback. So always do a good job!

In the next article I offer advice on properly closing out a project. Until then!




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